Fall 2020: Are Sports With COVID Safe?


Maya Tadmor, Contributing Writer

Are school sports during COVID contained or out of control? And more importantly, why is the Hastings school district insisting on continuing sports this school year? This article will cover how the Hastings School District Director of Athletics, Mr. Wendol, is trying to keep everyone involved in sports safe and happy this year. One of the most common concerns the school has been getting is why? Why are we continuing with sports if they aren’t imperative? I asked Mr. Wendol this, here is his answer: 


“Athletics and the exercise, physical activity, and bonds you make while playing with a team really help now, especially with people just being stuck at their computers all the time… If it gets to the point where it is just not a good decision, we won’t do it anymore… if it gets to the point where we cannot do [it] outside anymore, then no, it would NOT be worth it. It has been shown in a lot of studies and research, though, how much athletics and exercise really helps with a lot of the issues people are facing now.” 


Many HHS students agreed with this. Sports appear to help with productivity, create a sense of normalcy, and boost overall mental health during these times. However, with student health being the most important, we still need to consider the actual safety precautions that are being used to ensure a worthwhile season. Here’s what Mr. Wendol has done so far to accommodate for COVID-19 regulations: 

  • Added in FAQ’s to this years safety protocol form
  • COVID-19 re-entry plan for interscholastic sports (
  • COVID-19 Insurance Letter (this told other schools about bathroom use, etc.)
  • Hastings Athletic Daily COVID Screener (separate from in-person school screener). Mr. Wendol explained, “I have a separate one for coaches and players that I make them fill out again. Just because, you know, you never know if you feel fine during the morning, and then less fine in the afternoon, I am hoping this serves as an added bonus, an added precaution, because we have different cohorts playing at the same time. I made that for spectators and officials as well.”
  • Universal Hastings Athletics Attendance Sheet (for contact tracing and alerting DOH)

You can find all of these sheets on the Hastings UFSD “Athletics” page! Here are some additional measures that are now required:

  • Only two spectators per athlete, if any, at a game (also need to each fill out a screener)
  • Coaches always have to fill out the forms as well and they know not to come to practice if they don’t feel 100%
  • Enforcing social distancing at all times on and off the field
  • Constant mask wearing (with some mask breaks during games)
  • Hand sanitizer stations and cleaning stations to wipe down equipment- there is one for home spectators and one for away teams’ spectators. 

Although temperature checks are not mandatory by New York State, the Hastings district decided that they wanted to institute a requirement that any opposing teams must get their temperatures checked when they come to play in Hastings, as well as their own. According to JV girl’s Tennis Coach Danielle Carr, a normal tennis match usually consists of three balls per court. This year though, to avoid contact between teams, each player three balls and labelled each ball with numbers so as to not have someone else pick it up by accident. Ms. Carr explained that the tennis team went to “painstaking measures to make sure their numbers didn’t overlap for [their] teams.” This is just one example of the great lengths each team this spring season has gone through to keep players safe, sacrificing facility for a chance to play their sport. All of the Westchester schools seem  to be following these rules as well, and we are all in this together! Mr. Wendol stated it perfectly: “we have ONE shot at [this]! If we don’t do this well it will all get shut down and no one wants that!” Indeed, after talking with many players and coaches, it’s obvious that everyone is in agreement: nobody wants to sabotage sports right now.

Four out of four HHS coaches said that they would let their kids — and if they didn’t have kids, hypothetically — play sports in the Hastings school district. In conclusion, great measures have been taken to keep sports safe this year! As girl’s Varsity Soccer Coach, Kirk Bamford reiterated, “If you choose to play or not it is an individual prerogative.” Mr. Wendol has gone very far to keep sports extremely safe, and he wants all readers to know that if you, your family, or your friends have any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas for making this even safer, then contact him and let him know at [email protected]!